10 ways to keep fleet drivers safe on the road this winter

Fleet managers spend a lot of time and resources on driver training and winter brings its own set of unique challenges for driver training and safety. Decreased visibility, icy streets, others on the road, and longer, darker hours are all conditions you can’t control. But there are some quick tips to help you keep your fleet drivers safe even when the roads aren’t in perfect condition.

Review these 10 tips with your drivers for a safer, more productive winter on the road.

10 winter driving safety tips for fleets

1. Prepare

Plan ahead for the winter by reviewing your safety policies and procedures with drivers, stocking your vehicles with emergency kits, putting the right tires on your vehicle and testing tire pressure, and taking a look at your region’s seasonal weather patterns and conditions and forecasts for this season.

For tires, focus on either all-season tires or winter tires, and when replacing tires, you should install them in sets of four to avoid different tread and sizes. Be sure to review local requirements when it concerns tire chains or winter tires for certain routes.

Review our blog that takes a deeper dive into preparing your fleet for winter.

2. Plan routes and review road conditions

Plan your drivers’ routes and identify alternatives in case of inclement weather. Remind drivers or routers to check road conditions and the forecast prior to hitting the road.

3. Warm up 

Warm up your vehicle slowly and give it time to heat up for proper function. Defrost windshields, remove all the ice and snow from the windows, hood, and roof of the vehicle, and check the tailpipe to ensure it’s clear.

4. Practice safer, slower driving

Accelerate and decelerate slowly, do not use cruise control, and drive slowly on bridges and overpasses in icy conditions to compensate for poor tractions. Always have drivers buckle up and enforce seatbelt compliance in the winter.  

5. Increase following distance

Leave room and increase following distance by at least four seconds.  Stopping distance on icy roads is almost ten times that of normal conditions so it’s imperative drivers increase following distance to give them space and extra time to react to unpredictable situations.

6. Avoid doing anything sudden

Drivers should attempt to stay as smooth as possible behind the wheel and avoid sudden breaking, accelerating, or cornering. Smooth and slow are a driver’s best options for driving and brakes should be pumped lightly when the road is slick or covered with snow.

7. Turn into a skid

Turning into a skid to correct a vehicle leaves the driver in command and control of the vehicle. It seems counterintuitive to most drivers but is the best way to come out of the skid.

8. Turn on headlights

Visibility quickly diminishes in snowy or foggy conditions so ensure drivers are turning on headlights before setting out, even during the day. This helps them see what’s on the road and allows other drivers to see them and keep a safe distance. When approaching intersections, drivers should check twice for vehicles that aren’t using their headlights.

9. Watch for snowplow trucks

Drivers should leave room for snowplows, as well as others on the road. Allow snowplows enough space to do their job, about 200 feet, and let them pass when necessary.

10. Know the signs of tired driving

Shorter days and less daylight is tough on us all but can be especially taxing for drivers. Review the signs of fatigue and drowsy driving so drivers are alert and in control when driving their fleet vehicle. If drivers start to shiver, their breathing slows, or they hit rumble strips, it’s time to pull over and rest.

In winter, driving conditions require the full attention of drivers to stay safe and on schedule. Many fleet managers are investing into Distracted Driver Prevention (DDP) technology to keep drivers focused on the road and not their phones. The technology offers in-app navigation and an emergency unlock feature. Contact us to learn more about Derive’s DDP solution.